Police: Drowning in Mohawk River on Thursday believed suicide

Schenectady teacher praised for attempted rescue
Dan Brudos grabs a rescue rope as he pulls a drowning victim to shore from the Mohawk Thursday.
Dan Brudos grabs a rescue rope as he pulls a drowning victim to shore from the Mohawk Thursday.

ROTTERDAM — The man who was pulled from the Mohawk River Thursday afternoon in a dramatic rescue attempt apparently intended to take his own life, Rotterdam police have concluded.

“All the information we have is that it was an intentional jump from the [Western Gateway] bridge, in a successful suicide attempt,” said police Lt. William Male.

The man, a 68-year-old from Scotia, is believed to have drowned, pending the results of an autopsy that was being conducted on Friday, Male said. The coldness of the water in the Mohawk River and speed of the current were likely contributing factors.

A passerby, Rotterdam resident Dan Brudos, was bicycling past on his way home from work and jumped into the river to rescue the man after being alerted by someone who saw the man jump, Male said.

A Daily Gazette photographer arrived on the scene shortly afterward and captured images as Brudos reached the man and pulled him to shore, though the man showed no signs of life.

“I went over and looked and decided he was close enough that I could maybe try to get him in, so I did that,” Brudos, 58, told The Gazette on Thursday.

The incident happened a little before 4 p.m. Brudos, a fourth-grade teacher at Howe Elementary School in Schenectady who regularly bicycles to work, is an EMT with the Plotterkill Volunteer Fire Co. He went into the water, reached the man, and pulled him to shore, as other rescuers arrived and threw Brudos a rescue line to help him reach shore.

His rescue effort, while unsuccessful, earned praise.

“Mr. Brudos is to be commended for what he did,” Male said.

Schonowe Fire Chief Mark VanCort also commended Brudos.

“I think it’s a good thing that he did,” VanCort said on Thursday. “It’s a good thing to assist somebody that had fallen into the water. He took it upon himself to go in there and try to help out and rescue the individual, not knowing what the circumstances were.”

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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